Naturism has always been promoted as a family-friendly thing, best enjoyed when you take your partner and your kids. For the large majority of naturist resorts around the world, families are still the preferred type of guest. But for a couple of years, we’ve been seeing a rapid increase of resorts that’ll ask you to leave the kids at home.
In the mind of the cautious naturist traveller, this immediately sets off a number of alarm bells. What’s happening at those places that my children are not supposed to see? The “adult-only” label got a bad reputation because it was most commonly associated with strip clubs or the section behind the curtain at the local video rental shop. But what if it doesn’t have anything to do with the children, but with the adults instead?
The uprise of adult-only
This rise in adult-only places is not just happening in naturism. A good year ago, there was quite some fuss on the internet about whether aeroplanes should have a section where kids are not allowed. Honestly, as we’ve been on quite some long-haul flights, we can understand where this request comes from. We’ve had our fair share of criers, seat kickers, and the odd one that took particular joy in pulling our hair. Every other minute. Ten very long hours in a row.
When you finally arrive at your destination, you’re supposed to be all excited and ready to explore, but the only thing you want to do is go to bed. If an airline would charge a reasonable fee, let’s say the equivalent of extra leg space, to sit in the adult-only section, we would probably pay for that.
Lately, the travel industry started shifting more and more towards experience-based holidays rather than destination-based ones. We’re not just going to Bali or Cuba anymore, we’re going on wellness vacations, digital detox vacations, food trips, adventure trips, and sustainable vacations. For these types of holidays, the other guests are equally as important as the location or the activities. You don’t want to go on a vegan vacation to find out that you’re sharing the restaurant with the barbecue vacation group. Neither do you want to go on a romantic getaway and find yourself booked next to the kids club.
Different trends in naturism
Naturist vacations are a niche and even an experience on their own. Nevertheless, we start seeing different sub-niches in this group. Until not too long ago, a naturist vacation meant one thing: Camping in the woods, far away from society, very close to nature, among people of all ages gathering around the bonfire in the evening. If you didn’t like that, it was hard to have a nice naturist vacation.
Today, those places still exist and are still popular, but more and more other experiences are popping up. Mindfulness and wellness found their way into naturism and often resulted in more luxury places where you can enjoy high-quality facilities, sleep in a very good bed, and have champagne for breakfast. There are active naturist vacations with options to hike naked, there are beach naturist vacations, cultural naturist vacations, you name it. All cater to people who enjoy being nude in a non-sexual way and in a somewhat social scene, but with very different wishes and needs.
Needless to say that families with children don’t always have a place in this. Most of the time, it doesn’t really need to be mentioned. If you promote your place as one where relaxation and serenity are the highest values, it typically won’t attract families anyway. But just to avoid the odd guest who didn’t read up about the place, it’s just easier to put an adult-only label.
Practical reasons for adult-only
Unlike what some people think, the adult-only rule is not just meant to keep families away so the other guests can have a better time. It’s also to prevent families to have a bad experience. We’ve visited a number of naturist places that don’t have the facilities to keep children entertained: no playground, no kids club, nada. The owners very well realise that for most families a vacation was successful when the kids had a good time. So it’s better to avoid bored kids altogether.
Whenever there are talks about creating adult-only places, whether it’s on planes, in restaurants, or at naturist resorts, some people will immediately draw the discrimination card. We should not discriminate on age or on the fact that someone has children. But what’s often forgotten is that this concept already exists for decades in nightlife. Not that anything happens in these clubs that children should not see, but because of the alcohol laws. It’s just impossible to ask for an ID every time someone orders a drink. So they make sure that nobody under the minimum age can enter the club. We’ve seen this same concept being applied in all-inclusive hotels or resorts with an open bar.
Who goes to adult-only places?
By now, it’s probably obvious that people have different reasons to choose adult-only places and that this definitely doesn’t mean that there are sexual intentions. Most people we meet at adult-only naturist resorts are couples who either don’t have any children of their own or who are having a timeout from their own children. It’s quite understandable that they prefer not to be surrounded by someone else’s offspring instead.
One time, we were surprised by the large number of teachers at an adult-only resort. One would think that this is the kind of job you only do if you absolutely love being around children. This was true, they said, but after being day in and day out among kids, they preferred to get a break from them during their holidays.
Another reason the teachers brought up was avoiding the risk to run into one of their students. Although we believe that the chance that this happens is little to none, you can only avoid the risk completely if you go to places with a minimum age.
What do we prefer?
It might be important to realise that this blog post was written by a couple who doesn’t have any children. Not that we’re child haters, we just never felt the need to start a family. If we had a family, our opinion might have been different. Nevertheless, it’s not that we’ll always try to avoid places that are popular among families.
Where we go, mostly depends on our mood. Sometimes we want to go to large social places, where there’s a lot going on, with many activities and people of all ages. Other times, we need a couple of days away from the world and everyone in it, and then our choice will often go to a smaller place that only allows adult guests.
How about you? Have you been to adult-only naturist places? What’s your preference?
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